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Adam Vinatieri -colts new PK


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Vinatieri getting treatment for ankle


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Adam Vinatieri isn't talking about his injured nonkicking leg, but the Indianapolis Colts still hope he'll be kicking in next week's season-opener.


The Colts announced Friday that Vinatieri was being treated for a sprained ligament and a bone chip, but it's the ligament that is of the greatest concern.


"We've targeted Adam for the season opener and we plan on him being ready," coach Tony Dungy said after Friday's 20-3 loss to Cincinnati. "I'm not a doctor, so I don't have the answer. You got the statement and that's the statement I got from the doctor when he first got hurt, so we're sticking with it."


Vinatieri, the NFL's best clutch kicker and the Colts' biggest offseason acquisition, has not practiced or played since hurting his left ankle while running Aug. 14.


The Colts initially announced he had a sprained ankle, but the severity of the injury was questioned Thursday after Vinatieri's mother, Judy, told The Indianapolis Star he had a fractured foot.


Dungy declined to elaborate after Thursday's practice and team spokesman Craig Kelley said Vinatieri did not have a broken bone and was recovering instead from a sprained ligament.


With questions still swirling Friday, the Colts uncharacteristically released a written statement from team foot specialist Dave Porter 30 minutes before kickoff.


Vinatieri watched the game in street clothes on the sideline but was not available for comment after the game.


Teammates, however, sounded optimistic about his return.


"We certainly hope he's back," two-time MVP Peyton Manning said. "Obviously, we all know what Adam's capable of when he's healthy. I know he's been working real hard in his rehab, so hopefully he's back for Sunday's game."


The Colts open their season against the New York Giants in the first Sunday night game of the season.


Vinatieri signed a five-year, $12 million contract in March to replace Mike Vanderjagt, the franchise's career scoring leader with 995 points and the NFL's most accurate kicker.


Vanderjagt signed with Dallas as a free agent after missing his final kick as a Colts player, a 46-yarder that would have forced overtime in January's playoff loss to Pittsburgh.


Clearly, though Colts players were getting weary of questions about Vinatieri's injury.


"You'd have to talk to the doctors and talk to Adam on that," Manning said when asked if he expected Vinatieri to play against the Giants. "I'm not into speaking for other people. Certainly we hope he's back."


Vinatieri missed the Colts' last three exhibition games because of the injury.


He's best known for his two Super Bowl winning kicks with New England. He also made two field goals in the infamous "tuck rule" game against Oakland, kicks that helped the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory.



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